Summer Wives (Williams) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to start a discussion for SUMMER WIVES … then take off on your own:

1. How would you compare the different Mirandas of this novel: the younger version of 1951 and the later one of 1969? What has changed?

2. Describe the early relationship between the two step-sisters, Miranda and Isobel. How does their relationship change when Miranda returns nearly 20 years later?

3. What else on the island has changed in Miranda's 20-year absence?

4. As as an author, Beatriz Williams is particularly deft at digging into the interior lives of women; Summer Wives is no exception. On her return to the island, Miranda Schuyler is hiding a bruised eye, indicative of a troubled relationship, a literal wound indicative of an internal one. Yet Miranda bears wounds from her teen-aged years as well. What are the causes of those wounds, and what does Miranda eventually decide to do: endure the pain or push back against it?

5. Talk about the dual world of life on Winthrop Island between the year-round Portuguese community and the wealthy summer folk. Where does the Fisher family fit within this social hierarchy? Why does Isobel tell her father, for instance, that she is pleased with his choice for a new wife?

6. Williams peels back the layers of opulence and social status on Winthrop Island. What does she reveal?

7. What is the relationship between Isobel and Joseph Vargas? Were you able to figure out the real killer of Hugh Fisher, or were you caught by surprise?

8. Were you able to keep track of the many characters and the different timelines, or were you somewhat confused? Is there one era you found more appealing than the others: the 1930's, '50's, or the '60s?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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